Category Bali

Bali 2: Déjà Vu and Reclaimed Glass

Bali 2: Déjà vu and Reclaimed Glass

Back on land we ran into a shop owner selling reclaimed polished glass. Beautiful, rich in color, quasi natural and when viewed at different angles almost kaleidoscope like… what a product! I chuckled to myself and took a quick trip down memory lane. My family was producing these 15-20 years ago and now it’s being reinvented. One never knows when or what markets will pop up and where. Of course we bought all he had. We know what our customers love.

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Spotting the Treasures

Having a business such as ours, demands quick but solid decision making. Jess and I are a team and compliment each other—we have the same agenda, different styles. Jess has a great eye, she sees things I don’t and she knows that piece will go and it does…..like lightening. She’s the queen when it comes to one of a kind finds. I have more of a practical nature, knowing quality and pricing and can bargain well.

Operating with no middleman, allows us that extra margin of investing power­­–– buying right so our clients benefit and so do we.

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Bali Wood, the Best on the Planet

There are tremendous amount of trees, literally everywhere. Whatever they are doing it is eco friendly, albeit not without challenges to expansion. The variety of wood is extensive. Perfect conditions for growing… anything can grow. The wood grains from the tropical trees are finer, the wood denser, resistant to rot and decay and are less likely to warp and bend.

The slabs are huge and we’re already sold out –Some of these slabs come 200ft tall trees, and could be 1,000 to 2,000 years old. They are felled by storms, soil erosion and other natural phenomena. These beautiful woods are the best available in the world today.

The Bali wood business is a family industry, everybody works, its a family  affair, from sales to production and has been for generations—There is no high tech machine, pressed wood or short cuts. Its pegs and dowels. The furniture is built, not “put” together, it’s top notch at a price that is more than equitable.

For my friends, those that want to know more about the different wood, check out the information provided at the end, which was found on the internet.

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Wow, the Taste of Off the Tree Coconut Water

The Balinese people we dealt with love Americans, are smart, respectful, warm, and laid back island people. They have a passion for craftsmanship and a love of beauty and genuinely appreciated the admiration we showed for their products. That’s when they took us to see the real gems in the “back room”!

We were always asked and served refreshments. Picked moments from serving, a coconut would appear with the cool, delicious coconut water inside. Ambrosia! It was not unusual to be given gifts including special ones for our two boys. What a way to do business and its part of the culture!

We are happy to introduce our customers to this market, where we guarantee they will find a treasure to enjoy. Bali, we will be back!

The only draw back and I stress the only, is, it is a 22 hour plane ride from Florida. Oh well what’s a little sacrifice!

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Quick Primer on Types of Wood

To give our readers a better description of a few of the tropical woods we encountered, we have included a brief list below. Thank you internet!

Albesia Wood

For colorfully painted folk art style carvings that do not need a lot of carved detail the carver will choose albesia wood. Albesia is a sustainably grown soft wood perfect for this type of carving as it is easy to grow in Bali’s rich organic soil. These fast growing trees are ready to harvest with in 5 years.

Suar Wood

Suar Wood or monkey pod is a type of mahogany. This wood is also sustainably grown in Indonesia. The heart of the wood is darker than the outer layer, creating an interesting two-toned grain. This wood is known for it’s tight, inter-locking fibers that are resistant to cracking, making this wood the perfect choice for larger, thicker carvings.

Teak Wood

Teak has been and continues to be highly desirable. Due to deforestation world wide it now demands a higher market price. Teak is a large, deciduous tree that occurs in mixed hardwood forests. It has small, fragrant white flowers. Teak is one of the most sustainable types of wood. It is one of the hardest, strongest and most durable of natural wood

Frangipani Wood

Frangipani, known for it’s beautiful fragrant flowers is often used by Balinese Master Carvers  for fine art carvings due to its tight fine grain.. The wood will often be chosen by the artist from trees in their own gardens, based on age and unique shape of the wood. Carvings made from Frangipani are one of a kind, as the artist will envision the form with in the wood.

Hibiscus Wood

The color is white with gray heartwood, the darker heartwood  makes for distinctive two-tone pieces. As the wood ages, the gray wood develops a greenish patina , which can create a very distinct look. This wood is usually left the natural color to be polished to a very smooth satin finish. Often the choice for Master Balinese Carvers to sculpt unique one of a kind and detailed fine art carvings.

Crocodile Wood

Crocodile or Satin, a hard wood, is it called so because of the nubby outer bark that resembles a crocodile skin. Inside reveals a creamy white colored wood, which looks like ivory when it is waxed and polished. Balinese artist will use this wood for carvings that are more detailed and higher in quality.

Bali 1: Cockeyed Romantic

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Cockeyed Romantic

It’s true, we fell in love. Call us romantic, call us naïve or foolish, but we had thoughts, dangerous ones, ––trade in the business and mortgage, for a more gentle and simpler way of life–– in Bali. Coming to my senses and my real life obligations, practicality seized me. I realized we were in Bali for business.  My dear wife Jessica and awesome partner, continued day dreaming, at least for a while.

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Jess and I consider this one of our best trips ever. The quest to find “the hidden gems” was exciting, with our bounty far exceeding our expectations.

In fact our newly purchased inventory was walking out of the door before it even arrived at our Palm Harbor warehouse.

Bali accommodations were very comfortable and priced extremely fair. A nice, clean place with private pool is $15 to $20 per day.

Jess and I are working at being the seasoned travelers, which we love, but our palette is more provincial when it comes to food. Truth be said, we ate at the same place every day. The innkeepers got to know our peculiar preference for minimally seasoned food and kindly provided it.  We’re working at waking up our taste buds!

The Bali people really care and respect the buyer. They want our business and in many ways are advanced in commerce, making it a pleasure to do business with them.

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Scooter Phobia

The mode of transport is definitely the scooter. Traffic is ridiculous. Hundreds, no thousands of them pack the roads. There may be traffic police, but we never saw them. If there were rules of the road, they weren’t evident, except, make a move and do it fast. Scooter drivers come out of nowhere, everywhere. Terrifying.

Jess was the far better driver.  I knew people would look at us and it was disturbing to my male psyche, but staying alive won out. I slapped the keys into Jess’s hand and jumped on the back. I was intimidated, but not Jess.

As the scooter passenger, I realized, if you moved too fast, as in driving a car, and did not feel the wind, you’d loose the story and lush beauty that is Bali, and that’s the wonder of the scooter and rational for being a scooter passenger—amen.

Soaring Cliffs and Sacred Temples

 After a good first night rest and being way too excited to sleep more, we jumped on our scooter. With Jess at the stern, off we went to absorb Bali. The winding road with verdant rice field panoramas were taking us to the famous Uluwatu Temple.

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 The Uluwatu Temple is spectacular! Overlooking the Indian Ocean, built centuries ago, 250 feet above sea level and on the edge of a cliff—a heart thumper. A stone stairway leads to the top. The tourist challenge besides the enormous amount of steps is the width of the stair. Built hundreds of years ago, people had smaller feet, especially the Balinese. Vitamin built Americans have large feet, which don’t fit comfortably on their stairs, giving one the insecure feeling of toppling over at any moment, It’s intensified on the way down. Brave tourists that we are, we forged ahead.

Evidently, a movie with Julia Roberts, “Eat, Pray, Love” was filmed here some years back. Spotting American tourists, must be the trigger for locals to start chanting, Julia Roberts, Julia Roberts. Who knows, maybe it’s a code we have yet to decipher!

BTW, the magnificence of detailed carving is evident in the temple architecture and its embellishment. The same style continues to be produced in their crafts today.

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Monkey Business

Hundreds of monkeys roam along the path outside the temple. The monkeys lie in wait to get glasses, earrings, anything sparkly from tourists, including snacks. Out of the blue, one jumped on my back wanting a free ride. Pretending to be brave, and suppressing a loud scream, I dislodged him and came off looking like Bruce Lee. I was cool, my wife proud.

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Boats that no Longer Float

I love the water and fishing, so it’s not unusual for me to hang around the beach watching the fishermen come and go and ask questions. That’s how I found out the ultimate in Bali recycling. Once their long tailed boats, made from teak, mango and other hardwoods are retired, they are recycled into furniture——tables chairs, chests, benches, bars—The festive tropical colors weathered by time and conditions, form a patchwork-like design, very pleasing to the eye, contemporary and with an island charm.  Unique and only found in Bali.

We met the families who are responsible for making the items. We got to know them and they found out more about us, including showing photos of the kids and dog.  Generations live together; they are very family oriented and spiritual, which they incorporate into their daily life. So, it’s no longer impersonal, but very real and personal. It’s a dimension that adds richness and pleasure to our lives, it’s real.

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Josh Saves a Turtle

Looking at the clear aquamarine water compelled me to go fishing. My wife knows my love for this and the sweet lady that she is, encouraged me to book a ½ day fishing excursion, even thought she gets sea sick and in tranquil water. Being on Indian Ocean was breathtaking, the fishing not so much.  On board was a large turtle, destined to be dinner. I could see my wife’s face and read her mind. Call me the ugly American if you have to, but I hoisted the turtle back into the water to live another day. It was worth it seeing her eyes sparkle. The turtle winked, then swam away.

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